Hosting a ‘Wine Tasting’ evening

Having been to many wine tasting events in the past most of them very enjoyable and informative I decided to hold my own such evening and let me tell you I ‘doff my cap’ to the people who organise them and as I found out, it’s not as easy as it looks.

It takes a lot of preparation from, finding a venue, selecting a theme, sourcing the wines, buying them, researching them, preparing tasting / information sheets, obtaining tasting glasses and making sure there are a few nibbles to soak up the alcohol.

For my first event I invited 20 people made up of friends and family, thinking they would go easier on me with perhaps the odd bit of heckling which I was expected. I picked my local church hall for the venue.

Charging everyone is something I had to think about as well, this included hiring the hall and buying the wine, glasses I hired from a well known supermarket for no charge (apart from breakages which we would have to replace). Tasting/information sheets, pencils etc I provided. As an extra we asked everyone to bring an item for a buffet at the end, this was so we could finish of the left over wine and make it a bit more of a social gathering.

So to the evening itself, I finally settled on 20 people which could have escalated but in the end decided this was a manageable amount. The theme was ‘Alternative grape Varieties’ all the wines I felt had to be easily available from supermarkets or other popular wine outlets and I decided on a top limit of £10 per bottle.

The tasting consisted of 5 whites including a rosé and 5 reds, I doubled up on each, 20 bottles in the end this included ten 40/50ml sample for tasting and the left overs for the buffet at the end, which seemed to work really well.

The selection I went for in the end were as follows…..

Rosé / Whites

Domaine La Chartarde – Provence (Cinsault)

Gruner Veltliner Blueprint – (Gruner Veltliner)

Lindemans Hunter Valley Semillon – (Semillon)

Winemakers Series Godello – (Godello)

Santa Julia Organic – (Torrontes)

Reds

Pizarras de Otero Bierzo – (Mencia)

Nerello Mascalese Morrisons the Best – (Nerello Mascalese)

Gamellon Roble – (Monastrell)

Morrisons the Best Pinotage – (Pinotage)

Morrisons the Best Negroamaro – (Negroamaro)

I gave a very brief explanation of each wine as we went along, there was also a more detailed information sheet about each grape varietal on the tables as well. There was also another sheet for people to comment and rate each wine out of ten. As the evening progressed the noise level naturally increased and at times it was getting harder to make myself heard, (maybe they thought that was a good thing).

Overall, the evening was a great success with everyone really enjoying themselves and hopefully learning a little along the way. My aim was to introduce the guys to something different, whether they liked it or not it was nice to give them an alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Merlot and Shiraz, to name but a few. Even if they didn’t try the particular bottles I brought along again, the main aim was to try the different grapes.

Finally we did a quick tally up of the scores for each wine just to get an idea of peoples favourites on the night, the Godello was voted the best white and it was a close run between the Monastrell and the Negroamaro for the best red, with the Monastrell just edging it.

When the official part of the tasting was done we tucked into the buffet and I brought out all the left over wine for people to drink another glass or three.

At the end of the evening I was asked if I would do another one the following week, joking aside I will try another one but maybe in a few months time but it was rewarding, very enjoyable but a lot of work.

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